- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur (Nov. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312268645
- ISBN-13: 978-0312268640
- Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.6 x 21.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,359,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Act of Mercy: A Celtic Mystery Hardcover – 1 Nov 2001
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Top Customer Reviews
The Sister Fidelma novels are taking on almost cult proportions and are becoming ever more popular with each offering from the author, whose obvious knowledge of the times and subjects he writes about shines out like a beacon on the shore.
It is the autumn of the year AD666 and Sister Fidelma has set out on a pilgrimage, her main task and thoughts are to reflect on her commitment to the religious life. Her work has to a degree isolated her from the life that a normal Christian Sister would live within the church.
However on the first night aboard ship a pilgrim is washed overboard, but was it an accident or a deliberate act of murder. Fidelma find herself involved in attempting to solve the mystery . . .
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
About the series: May be spoilers! Sorry!
The Sister Fidelma mysteries are set mainly in Ireland during the mid-seventh century AD. Sister Fidelma is not simply a religieuse, a former member of the community of St Brigid of Kildare. She is also a qualified dalaigh, or advocate of the ancient law courts of Ireland. She is also a Princess, Colgù mac Faίlbre Flaind - King of Muman (Munster) being Fidelma's older brother. She solves mysteries with the help of Brother Eadulf, a Saxon from Seaxmund’s Ham, whom she later marries. They have a son, Alchú.
About the author:
Peter Tremayne is a pseudonym for Peter Berresford Ellis, a recognized historian and expert on Celtic Studies. He also is an expert on the early Irish Catholic Church and the laws of ancient Ireland.
A conflicted Sister Fidelma joins a group that is on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. James, in Iberia, modern-day Spain. The conflict arises from her feelings for Brother Eadulf, and whether it is wise to pursue them. Before she can board the ship, a body is discovered in an inn where the Pilgrims had stayed the night before.
Originally there were to be six Brothers and six Sisters in the Pilgrimage party. However, one has be said to back out of the party and never left St. Declan’s Abbey. The other didn’t make it aboard ship, and is suspected to have missed the boat. It is her body that the Innkeeper discovered.
On shipboard an unpleasant surprise awaits her in the person of Brother Cian, a former warrior and her first love. Cian had deserted her after she gave herself to him. Cian professes to still care for her and wants to renew their relationship.
To complicate matters, there is a murder aboard The Barnacle Goose. Sister Muirgel, who had been suffering from seasickness, has disappeared in the night. Cian suggests she fell overboard in the night attempting to ease her illness by going on deck. But the cabin boy finds her torn and bloody robe under her bunk, and reports that she had locked her door the night before.
And so begins the weaving of a mystery. As Sister Fidelma gathers the various threads, she is faced with something that may have grim results. If she does not solve the mystery before the ship arrives at its destination, the murderer may vanish into the solace of unfamiliar territory and literally get away with murder!
As usual, Peter Tremayne inserts history, religion, and mystery into a tale that is well worth the reading. Another five stars out of five stars for this book and the continuing series!
Quoth the Raven…
Yes, I know that Peter Tremayne has been sometimes critiqued as not being "scholarly" enough. But as a retired college professor, I know that criticism is sometimes a cover for people that don't want certain viewpoints allowed. However, what is really important is the STORY--we need stories to tell that are more humane, more loving, and more intelligent that those stories that are currently being told. And certainly Brehon law was more progressive and humane than anything we have seen to date. I advise you to read these in chronological order because the story is historical and should be read that way. I really love these stories, they are like candy and equally addictive.
That said, I have read eleven of the Sister Fidelma books so far, but with every Kindle edition I have read, I have become more and more exasperated and disappointed in the editing of the books. It is not as though these are one or two dollar books, they are expensive for e-books. In some pages I have found 2-4 editing errors, in some editions scores of editing errors. As a former editor, this grates on my nerves. AMAZON: hire people like me to edit these books, sometimes e-books written in English look as though they have been edited by a machine or someone who is not familiar with English. Again, hire professionals to edit these books. This would have been a 5-star rating had the editing been up to par.